Was lucky enough to be offered a visit of the Tobacco Institute with one of its employees. It was a very interesting experience that provided a deeper knowledge of the intricacies of tobacco. Not only did it provide information on how the plantation, collection and processing of the tobacco plant occurs, but also of how it is possible to assess the quality of tobacco; both from observation (by checking the color as it dries) and by assessing the quality and properties in laboratory.
The tobacco institute has a long history, but the place on its own is interesting. Hallways and offices are littered with tobacco scattered around in a wealth of forms. Since, unlike cigarette factories, the work of the institute revolves around research, and quality control and certification, and not the production of tobacco related products to be distributed and sold, it has a much more relaxed environment than the tight security measures that are often observed in cigarette factories; in order to prevent workers and visitors from leaving the jobsite with the product.
It was nice to see the science behind tobacco related products. It is worlds away from the ideas that one can often have when thinking about tobacco. And, it isn't necessary for you to be a smoker to find it interesting.